Apple’s first product launch event of 2022 arrived on Wednesday, here’s what to expect, including iPhone SE 3, informing the world that the company’s much-anticipated product event will be held clearly on March 8 at 10 AM PST.
Often referred to as its “Spring Event,” Apple’s March and April product launches nearly continuously feature new consumer-grade iPads, one or extra MacBooks (Airs are frequently nice!), and a surprise or two.
In the 24 hours leading up to the official announcement, #AppleEvent was trending on Twitter, as though people were attempting to will the event into existence. Oh, the disappointment if the announcement didn’t come today. This time, though, the pundits were right. Now we have this colorful invite and the words “Peek Performance,” along with the tune “Wonder” by Yung Bae.
While the multi-color Apple logo is surely a nod to a new, colorful line of MacBook Airs and iPad Airs, the word “Peek” is a possible hint that we might get a look at Apple’s AR glasses project. That’s a long shot, though.
iPhone SE 3 and iPad Air
So what will Apple show off this time around? The rumor mill has been pointing in the direction of a new iPhone SE, namely the iPhone SE 3.
Analysts and possible leaks point to a cheaper device than the last $399 / £389 / AU$679 model. It could be in the $300 range (£290 and AU$510). A redesign, one that moves it from iPhone 8 territory into the edgier iPhone 13 zone, seems unlikely.
As a budget device, the iPhone SE has been stuck with 64GB and 128GB storage options (iPhone 13 starts with 128GB). The iPhone SE 3 might drop the low-end storage and open it up to a 256GB tier. On the other hand, can Apple make the phone cheaper while still raising the base storage space?
At least the new iPhone SE 3 should feature Apple’s latest mobile silicon, the A15 Bionic, and might even be 5G. That last part makes more sense when you think about how not only Apple but carriers would like to move everyone to the faster and pricier connectivity tier.
It’s a good bet that an iPad or two is in the air, as well. The iPad Air 5 is heavily rumored to appear this quarter. Analysts appear split on whether the slab will move from LCD screen technology to the richer, possibly thinner OLED. A 10.9-inch display, though, is still probably a lock. No one expects Apple to squeeze a TrueDepth notch and Face ID into the iPad Air
As is usually the case, Apple will upgrade the components, while leaving the design and other key features in place. Expect an A15 Bionic CPU and a 5G option.
Even if Apple doesn’t shift the iPhone SE to a higher storage tier, it’s unlikely it will leave the base iPad Air 5 at 64GB. The entry-level for these creativity and consumption tablets must be 256GB. At least, that’s our hope.
- Everything we think we know about the Apple M2
- What to expect from the rumored iPad Air 5
- Could the AirPods Pro 2 be fitness mavens?
All hail the M2
Since Apple has traditionally released one consumer MacBook (sometimes more) in the spring, it’s fair to assume we could see a new MacBook Air next week. However, the news here won’t necessarily be the new system, it’ll be the Apple Silicon running inside it
The excitement surrounding Apple’s first second-generation M-series chip, though, might overshadow what is expected to be a significant system redesign. The MacBook Air is expected to lose most of its soft shoulders in favor of a slightly more industrial and squared-off design, one that might make it look like a clamshell cousin to the iPad Air. Other design tweaks include new colors and even a white keyboard.
As for the M2, no one expects more cores, but Apple will optimize the heck out of its system to raise performance somewhere between the classic M1 and its M1 Pro line.
AirPods Pro 2
AirPods Pro is, while aging gracefully, primed for an update. The AirPods Pro 2 could arrive next week with some impressive health-and-fitness-related features.
Some rumors point to workout tracking (which might mean heart-rate monitoring and even temperature). Others have the AirPods Pro 2 swapping out Bluetooth for some sort of optical transmission (we think this is unlikely).
We could also see a more affordable pair of Airpods Pro Lite, though how they would differ from AirPods 3 is unclear.
One more thing
Could the surprise be a completely new Apple TV device, maybe even the long-rumored and now nearly forgotten Apple TV set?
That’s right, Apple could still unveil its first smart TV in up to three sizes (42-in., 50-in., 65-in., if we had to guess). All would integrate the Apple TV streaming box features, offer a brilliant 4K LED display (maybe with an 8K option at the largest size), and a one-year free subscription to Apple TV+.
It’s a major stretch and the more likely surprise product is one that slams together HomePod mini and the Apple TV box: a smart speaker that can control all your smart devices via voice, play Adele’s latest album through Apple music, and stream Ted Lasso.
Yes, we originally had Apple Glasses in the “don’t expect” category, but a thrilling discovery changed our minds. It might be the biggest surprise of all.
What’s you probably won’t see on March 8
Apple has a lot of options for its Tuesday, March 8th event, but we expect them to hold some stuff back for later in the year.
It’s unlikely the Apple Watch Series 8 will appear. That’s traditionally a fall update that follows the watchOS 9 reveal we expect in June during WWDC2022.
Also do not expect:
Apple’s 2022 WWDC
What to Expect
- iOS 16
- iPadOS 16
- macOS 13
- watchOS 9
- tvOS 16
Apple is expected to introduce iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, tvOS 16, and watchOS 9 at WWDC 2022. After debuting the new operating system updates, Apple will provide the software to developers for testing purposes ahead of a fall launch.
We don’t know a lot about the new software updates at this time, but based on iPhone 14 hardware rumors, there are perhaps a few features to look forward to in iOS 16.
At least one iPhone will have a hole-punch display design instead of a notch, which will require interface changes and updates to the area around the status bar, and there are also rumors about car crash detection and emergency satellite features.
We have a dedicated roundup on what we might see in iOS 16, which is worth checking out if you’re curious about what could be coming at WWDC.
Hardware has become increasingly rare at WWDC, but there are rumors that Apple might introduce its upcoming AR/VR headset WWDC to give developers time to create apps and experiences for the device ahead of its launch.
Apple has been working on the AR/VR (or “mixed reality”) headset for some time now, and it’s not yet clear if it’s going to be ready for a WWDC debut. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the features expected with the headset, and more can be found in our dedicated AR/VR roundup.
- Wraparound VR headset look
- Oculus Quest-style design that’s sleek and lightweight, using an Apple Watch style strap and a soft mesh around the eyes.
- Two high-resolution micro OLED displays, possible third display for peripheral vision
- Super fast chip that outperforms the M1
- Over a dozen cameras for tracking hand movements and viewing the outside world
- Eye tracking for controls and features based on eye movements
- Gesture-based controls
- Dedicated App Store with focus on gaming, streaming video content, and video conferencing
- $3000+ price tag